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Air conditioning not working? How to survive before it gets fixed

It’s a scorching day outside and you’ve retreated indoors for some relief. But to your surprise, your air conditioner breaks down and the inside of your home feels hotter than it is outside! of course, you’ll have to call an air conditioning specialist to fix the problem. While you wait for a technician, here’s what you can do to survive the heat wave.

But first…

Before we talk about what you should do if your air conditioner breaks down, let’s examine the reasons why it could happen in the first place.

  1. It’s not ready for the summer heat. Did you take the time to clean the unit, replace the air filters and check the gas pressure? Routine A/C maintenance is essential to get the unit ready for the summer months. Skip these steps and you could put the unit at risk of failing when it’s needed the most.
  2. It overheats. When your air conditioner is running for extended periods of time, trying to pump as much cool air into your home to cool you off, the A/C unit itself can overheat, which trips the circuit breaker. Rather than simply flicking the breaker back on, have your air conditioner inspected by a professional technician. Chances are good there’s a reason why it’s constantly breaking down and it’s not because of the breaker.
  3. It’s time for a new one. After 10 to 15 years, the chances of your air conditioner breaking down goes much higher. That’s because it’s not efficient as it used to be. Rather than waiting for it to break down at the most inconvenient time (AKA during a heat wave), consider having an air conditioning expert look at your unit to see what condition it’s in. A total replacement may not be in order just yet, but a repair instead to tie over the unit for another few years.r conditioner. Maybe in it’s prime your air conditioner could make it through the summer without a hitch. But when it gets to 10-15 years old, the chances of it breaking down are much higher.
Take care of your AC unit and it'll take care of you!

Take care of your AC unit and it’ll take care of you!

No matter how much you prepare in advance for the summer months, A/C fails are bound to happen. The first thing you should do in this case is call an A/C professional to inspect and repair the problem. In the meantime, however, there are some things you could do to keep cool (and keep your sanity when you feel like you’re overheating):

Improve air circulation

Open doors in the house and use boxed fans. This combination acts like an exhaust system that pushes the hot air back outside, which helps keep your environment cooler. If you’re heading into the evening and the A/C hasn’t been fixed yet, then consider keeping a few windows open. Once the sun goes up, close the doors and windows to trap int that cool air.

a_c relief

Where you put the fans in your home is key. Take a look at this video to find out why:

Keep cool with water

Never underestimate the power of water and its ability to cool your body. Fill up a bucket of cool water and soak your feet in it. Better yet, wet some towels or cloths and layer them on your body – shoulders, head, arms – to feel some relief. If possible, consider taking a cold shower. If that’s not an option, then fill up  spray bottle with cool water and spritz your body with it when needed. It’ll keep you cool until your unit is fixed.

Just thinking about the heat wave has us thinking about saving those cleaning bottles for an emergency!

Just thinking about the heat wave has us thinking about saving those cleaning bottles for an emergency!

Stay hydrated

Do you find yourself getting thirsty? That’s your body’s way of telling you it’s dehydrated. Drink lots of water! When your body is suffering from extreme heat, it’s important to refuel by replacing electrolytes that get lost as a result of perspiration. Drink water with your food and incorporate a replacement drink – think Gatorade and Powerade – into your routine. The electrolytes will make you feel better.

Hydration is key when surviving a heat wave.

Hydration is key when surviving a heat wave.

Know the signs of heat-related illnesses

A heat wave can cause a lot more than dehydration. Here are common heat-related illnesses you should be aware of and what the symptoms are:

Heat cramps

Symptoms include:

  • Severe cramps that start in the hands, calves or feet;
  • Tense muscles.

Heat exhaustionheat related illness

Common symptoms are the following:

  • Fatigue;
  • Nausea;
  • Headache;
  • Muscle weakness;
  • Confusion/anxiety;
  • Dizziness;
  • Excessive thirst;
  • Slowed, weakened heartbeat;
  • Sweating profusely, but feeling cold and clammy at the same time.

Heat stroke

Watch out for these signs in yourself and/or the people around you:

  • Nausea, vomiting;
  • Headaches;
  • Dizziness;
  • Fatigue;
  • Rapid heart rate;
  • Shortness of breath;
  • Convulsions.

If you’re experiencing any of these symptoms, call 911 immediately.

Here are some more tricks to try to keep you cool and avoid heat-related illnesses:

Have you called an air conditioning professional yet? We have an extensive directory of A/C specialists who are knowledgeable in A/C repairs and replacements. They’ll get your A/C unit up and running in no time!

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